Russian hackers accessed voter databases in two Florida counties during the 2016 election, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Tuesday.
DeSantis learned of the hacks during an FBI briefing last week. He also said he signed an agreement not to disclose which counties were affected, saying he “would be willing to name” them but “they asked me to sign it so I’m going to respect their wishes.”
According to the governor, the hackers didn’t manipulate any data and election results were not compromised by the hacks.
“Two Florida counties experienced intrusion into the supervisor of election networks. There was no manipulation or anything but there was voter data that able to be gotten,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “It did not affect any voting or anything like that.”
The Russians gained access through a spearfishing email, he said, after a worker clicked on a link.
As Florida’s Spectrum News reported recently, the state was mentioned 30 times in the recently released Mueller report. The report mentioned specifically at least one instance of a Russian intelligence arm gaining access to a Florida country government network.
DeSantis reportedly said at the time that he was upset after learning about the hack from the report and not directly from the FBI when it was discovered.
“They won’t tell us which county it was. Are you kidding me? Why would you not have said something immediately?” he said. DeSantis also promised to make public whatever information he learned, “unless somehow it’s classified.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) previously said he learned of a Russian hack on Florida election systems. Former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) also repeatedly warned about election systems hacking while in office.
“County election boards should not be expected to stand alone against a hostile foreign government,” the pair wrote in a letter last July, recommending that the Department of Homeland Security implement “a wide range of services” to strengthen the state’s election security.